Review by Veeno Dewan
The all-new eighth-generation Nissan Versa is a new take on the venerable compact sedan that has been a top seller for the company. The current Versa is one of the better styled compact sedans, with a look that’s both sporty and substantial. The signature V-motion grille is nicely integrated, and the smooth unobtrusive styling makes it look classy and playful. The cabin and exterior have a makeover with new exterior design elements, and more premium quality materials and a thoughtful upscale look and feel. The new Versa is lower, wider, and longer and carries through Nissans emotional Geometry design
For 2021, changes include the addition of heated front seats and mirrors to base S trims , along with a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The SR version as tested has a fetching new Electric Blue paint option with the 17-inch alloy wheels.
Power for the Versa comes courtesy of a 1.6 litre four-cylinder unit producing 122 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque. The gearbox is Nissan’s Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT). A five-speed manual is available, but only offered on the base S trim sadly.
We tested the SR model that came with such niceties as: thin lensed LED headlights, 6- way power driver’s seat, 6- speaker audio system, rear spoiler, 17 -inch alloy wheels, and black side mirrors, A dark chrome V-motion grille and chrome exhaust tips complete the look.
The interior cabin on the Versa is also impressive: there is a high-end feel with premium textiles, plastics, and upholstery. The raised stitching on the black seats and dash on our SR tester looked wonderful and adds a refined sense of style. A chunky feeling steering wheel , simple clear gauges and easy to use controls add to the ambience. Nissan’s “Zero Gravity” seats reside up front- and are ergonomically designed to alleviate pressure points, they’re meant for all-day driving comfort. The rear cabin is also roomy, and seats two adults in comfort rather than three. A pair of rear USB ports are also within easy reach. Opting for the available sunroof cuts into the cabin’s headroom but otherwise adults have ample space in the front and back. Trunk space is on the money at a huge for its size – 15.0 cubic foot.
On the road the wider stance provides a lower centre of gravity and more stable composure. It’s certainly an improvement over the outgoing Versa. The handling is quite good, with nice reflexes. The suspension is smooth, and irons out rough surfaces well. Steering is nicely balanced and overall, the Versa is good fun to drive, but not that fast. Acceleration is adequate for everyday driving, however there is a Sport button that can add some extra throttle response grunt when needed. We were especially impressed with its braking system. The Versa delivered reassuring pedal feel and solid stopping power on all road conditions. Not much to gripe about, the CVT is still a tad sluggish on fast acceleration and upshifts. The back seat room for three adults is. There is a very good official fuel rating of 6.7 L/100 km combined.
I like the cool exterior styling, the nice interior, the decent –equipment levels and the performance. Its not bad on fuel either. Fit and finish is excellent, the door panels, plastics and textiles all feel durable. Nissan deserve a huge pat on the back for making one of the best compact sedans available in Canada. Highly recommended.
2021 Nissan Versa: Priced from $16,498 (base); SR Model as tested $22,803 including Freight and PDE. More info at www.nissan.ca